Sika expands epoxy resins facility in UAE

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sika has commissioned a manufacturing facility in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), which produces epoxy resins aimed at flooring solutions, said the company.

Sika has decided to invest in the expansion of its manufacturing facilities at the Dubai site in order to increase flexibility in production, shorten delivery times, optimize cost structures, and reduce inventories. The locally produced epoxy resins are an important component of Sika’s flooring solutions. These products are used to seal the surfaces of industrial floors and flooring for private homes, in order to ensure that the floor coverings are hard-wearing and resilient to mechanical and chemical exposure.

"By producing epoxy products in Dubai for the states in the Gulf Cooperation Council, we are increasing our competitiveness and specifically strengthening our position in the region’s flooring solutions market. We have clear growth targets in the Middle East, which we are systematically implementing with the expansion of our locally produced product portfolio."

The economy of the United Arab Emirates is in decline due to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis and the drop in the oil price. However, thanks to extensive investments in the transport infrastructure, the construction industry is expected to recover quickly. As early as 2021, the building sector should see growth of 1.8% and gain further momentum in subsequent years.

Investment and capacity details were not disclosed. The economy of the UAE has been in decline due to the effects of the coronavirus crisis and the drop in oil prices, Sika said in a statement.

As MRC reported earlier, in August 2015, Swiss specialty chemicals company Sika opened its forth production site in Russia. A new mortar factory and a plant to produce concrete admixtures were opened in Volgograd, in southern Russia. Thus, at the existing site in Lobnya, 30 km north of Moscow, a new production facility, which manufactures polymers for concrete admixtures, came on stream.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,496,500 tonnes in the first eight months of 2020, up by 5% year on year. Shipments of all ethylene polymers increased, except for linear low desnity polyethylene (LLDPE). At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market reached 767,2900 tonnes in the eight months of 2020 (calculated using the formula - production minus exports plus imports - and not counting producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply increased exclusively of PP random copolymer.

Sika is a specialty chemicals company with a leading position in the development and production of systems and products for bonding, sealing, damping, reinforcing, and protecting in the building sector and motor vehicle industry. Sika has subsidiaries in 101 countries around the world and manufactures in over 200 factories. Its more than 20,000 employees generated annual sales of CHF 7.09 billion in 2018.

PP imports into Kazakhstan increased by 7% in January - September, exports down by 6%

MOSCOW (MRC) - Imports of polypropylene (PP) in Kazakhstan grew to 29,600 tonnes in first nine months of this year, up 7% compared to the same period of 2019. PP exports decreased by 6%, reported MRC analysts.

September PP shipments to Kazakhstan grew to 2,500 tonnes from 2,000 tonnes a month earlier, local converters decreased their purchasing of homopolymer PP in Azerbaijan. Total PP imports into the country reached 29,600 tonnes in January - September 2020, compared with 27,500 tonnes in the same time a year earlier. At the same time, the forced shutdown for a turnaround at the local producer's production capacities led to lower export sales.

September imports of homopolymer PP and propylene copolymers increased to 1,700 tonnes and 820 tonnes, respectively, versus over 1,300 tonnes and 710 tonnes a month earlier, local companies significantly increased their PP purchases from Azerbaijan and South Korea. Overall imports of homopolymer PP and propylene copolymers reached 24,000 tonnes and 5,600 tons, respectively, in January-September 2020, compared to 22,000 tonnes and 5,600 tonnes a year earlier.

Kazakhstan's PP exports over the first nine months dropped to 17,300 tonnes, whereas this figure was 18,400 tonnes a year earlier.
Such a significant decrease in export volumes was due, among other things, to the long shutdown of the local producer, the Neftekhim LTD Company in April- June of the current year.


PP imports in Russia grew by 19% in January-October

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Polypropylene (PP) imports into Russia increased by 19% year on year to 181,100 tonnes in the first ten months of 2020.
Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports, according to MRC's DataScope report.

Russian companies decreased their purchasing of PP in foreign markets in October including due to the reduction of export quotas from some producers, imports amounted to 17,900 tonnes against 19,900 tonnes a month earlier. Thus, overall PP imports into Russia reached 181,100 tonnes in January-October 2020, compared to 152,100 tonnes a year earlier. Purchasing of all grades of propylene polymers in foreign markets increased, with homopolymer PP imports accounting for the most noticeable rise.

Overall, the structure of PP imports by grades looked the following way over the stated period.

October imports of homopolymer PP were about 6,000 tonnes versus 7,500 tonnes a month earlier, homopolymer PP shipments from Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan decreased. Thus, overall imports of homopolymer PP to Russia totalled 74,400 tonnes in the ten months of 2020, compared to 48,100 tonnes a year earlier.

October imports of PP block copolymers in Russia were about 5,200 tonnes against 4,900 tonnes in September, demand for Middle Eastern injection moulding polypropylene increased from Russian companies due to limited supply from local producers. Imports of PP block copolymers into Russia reached 48,900 tonnes in January-October 2020, compared to 47,000 tonnes a year earlier.

October imports of statistical copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymer) dropped to 3,200 tonnes from 4,900 tonnes a month earlier, with pipes producers accounting for the main reduction in shipments due to higher prices in Russia. Total imports of PP random copolymers in Russia were 31,600 tonnes in January - October 2020, compared with 26,900 tonnes year on year.

Russia's imports of other polymers of propylene for the period were about 26,300 tonnes in the first ten months of the year, compared with 30,000 tonnes year on year.


PE imports to Russia down by 16% in Jan-Oct 2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Polyethylene (PE) imports into Russia fell in January-October 2020 by 16% year on year to 524,600 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the greatest decrease in imports, according to MRC's DataScope report.

October PE imports grew to 49,600 tonnes from 46,200 tonnes a month earlier, shipments of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) and low density polyethylene (LDPE) increased. Overall imports of ethylene polymers totalled 524,600 tonnes in the first ten months of 2020, compared to 621,200 tonnes a year earlier. All ethylene polymers accounted for lower imports, with LDPE being the exception.

The structure of PE imports by grades looked the following way over the stated period.

October HDPE imports dropped to 18,100 tonnes from 18,600 tonnes a month earlier, shipments of injection moulding and film grade PE from Central Asia decreased. Overall imports of this PE grade totalled 220,600 tonnes in January-October 2020, down by 29% year on year. Film grade and pipe grade HDPE accounted for the main reduction in shipments.

Last month's LDPE imports exceeded 10,200 tonnes versus 8,900 tonnes in September. Overall LDPE imports to Russia reached 93,500 tonnes in the first ten months of 2020, up by 7% year on year.

October LLDPE imports into Russia reached 11,300 tonnes, compared to 10,700 tonnes a month earlier, local compounds producers increased their purchases in foreign markets. Overall LLPE imports totalled 129,500 tonnes in the first ten months of 2020, down by 12% year on year.

Last month's imports of other ethylene polymers, including ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA), were 10,100 tonnes, compared to 7,900 tonnes in September. Overall imports of other ethylene polymers reached 81,000 tonnes over the stated period versus 77,700 tonnes a year earlier.


Covestro broke ground of new Vulkollan production plant in Thailand

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Covestro announced that it has started construction of a new production plant for Vulkollan raw materials in the Map Ta Phut industrial zone in Thailand, according to GV.

The company said that with the new plant, it aims to satisfy the growing demand for high-performance polyurethane elastomers and to serve the ever wider range of applications of the product. The investment is in the high mid double-digit million euro range. Production at the new plant is scheduled to start at the end of 2022. It will employ a staff of more than 25 people.

"With this strategic investment, Covestro wants to further improve its infrastructure and customer proximity and strengthen its presence in the Asia-Pacific region," said Dr. Klaus Schafer, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Covestro. "After expanding our capacities for polycarbonate films, we are now broadening the production spectrum at our Map Ta Phut site with a new investment project."

"With this additional production line, we are not only supporting our customers' demand," said Michael Friede, Head of the Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties segment, "we are also investing in the future global growth of applications and industries with high-end requirements."

"Due to its extremely high mechanical strength and dynamic load capacity, the elastomer is the engineering material of choice for demanding applications," said Dr. Thomas Braig, Head of Elastomers. "In addition, its long-term functional reliability optimises the total cost of ownership compared to other elastomers. This makes Vulkollan the perfect material not only in the material handling industry, but also for a growing number of engineering applications."

According to Covestro, the product is one of the most powerful elastomers on the market. It is mainly used where highest mechanical strength and abrasion resistance is required. Examples are wheels for forklift trucks as well as couplings and seals for the engineering industry.

As MRC reported earlier, Covestro has closed the sale of its European polycarbonates (PC) sheets business to the Munich-based Serafin Group effective January 2, 2020. This includes key management and sales functions throughout Europe as well as production sites in Belgium and Italy.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of polycarbonate (PC) granules (excluding imports and exports to/from Belarus) rose in the first three quarters of 2020 by 32% year on year to 75,600 tonnes (57,200 tonnes a year earlier).

Covestro (formerly Bayer MaterialScience) is an independent subgroup within Bayer. It was created as part of the restructuring of Bayer AG from the former business group Bayer Polymers, with certain of its activities being spun off to Lanxess AG. Covestro manufactures and develops materials such as coatings, adhesives and sealants, polycarbonates (CDs, DVDs), polyurethanes (automotive seating, insulation for refrigerating appliances) etc. With 2019 sales of EUR12.4 billion, Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 17,200 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2019.